Dirk Johnson said he has been around long enough to know when a cut is coming in preseason. He never got that vibe during August with the Philadelphia Eagles. That move is in the past now, though, as he prepares to make his debut today in place of Brad Maynard as the Bears punter. Maynard is expected to miss his first game in 11 seasons, as first reported by the Chicago Sun-Times.
"I was definitely surprised because I had had a good camp and everything had gone really well,'' Johnson said. "[The Eagles] really didn't give me an explanation, and I don't know if they can really explain it. I've been in the league long enough to know when it's coming. You can tell how the preseason is going what is coming down the chute. It's not like I was not performing well."
Philly decided to go with 33-year-old rookie Sav Rocca, a decorated Australian Rules Football star. Rocca ranked 18th in the preseason with a 45.4-yard gross average and a 38.9-yard net. Johnson ranked 34th, with a 43.9-yard gross and a 34.8-yard net. The Eagles had signed Johnson to a six-year extension just a year earlier.
Johnson is not expected to be around long with Maynard missing with a pulled groin.
"They'd rather have [Maynard] at full strength for the rest of the year than half-ass it this week," said Rcih De Luca, Maynard's agent. "He should be ready to roll next week."